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Raising Education Achievement and Breaking the Cycle of Inequality in the United Kingdom

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  • Anne-Marie Brook
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    Abstract

    Globalisation, together with skill-biased technical change, is changing the composition of jobs in advanced economies and raising the level of skills required to do them. This has increased the importance of educating a large proportion of the population to much higher standards than in the past. The government in the United Kingdom has responded to this challenge by raising education spending and expanding the capacity of the education system in key areas such as pre-primary education and increasing participation in education beyond the age of 16. Nevertheless, performance on international tests of cognitive ability remains significantly below the standards of the best performing OECD countries and the education system seems to be particularly poor at ensuring good performance of pupils in the middle to bottom half of the education performance distribution. A renewed sense of urgency, together with some new approaches, is required to address the United Kingdom’s relative underperformance in literacy and numeracy. This paper proposes a number of avenues for encouraging a higher level of educational attainment, without significant further increases in expenditure. Élever le niveau de formation et rompre le cycle de l'inégalité au Royaume-Uni La mondialisation, conjuguée à l’évolution technologique qui privilégie la main-d’oeuvre qualifiée, modifie la composition des emplois dans les économies avancées et entraîne un relèvement du niveau des qualifications requises pour les occuper. Aussi est-il aujourd’hui plus important d’amener une grande proportion de la population à un niveau de formation infiniment plus élevé que dans le passé. Pour relever ce défi, les pouvoirs publics au Royaume-Uni ont augmenté les dépenses d’éducation, renforcé les moyens dont dispose le système éducatif dans des secteurs clés tels que l’éducation pré-primaire, et prolongé la scolarisation au-delà de l’âge de 16 ans. Malgré cela, les résultats de ce pays aux tests internationaux d’aptitudes intellectuelles restent sensiblement inférieurs au niveau atteint par les pays de l’OCDE les plus performants et le système éducatif britannique semble avoir beaucoup de mal à faire en sorte que les élèves situés dans la moitié inférieure de la distribution des performances en éducation obtiennent de bons résultats. Une conscience redoublée de l’urgence et quelques nouvelles approches s’imposent pour remédier aux sous-performances relatives du Royaume-Uni dans la maîtrise de l’écrit et des chiffres. Cet ouvrage propose un certain nombre de pistes pour favoriser un relèvement du niveau d’instruction sans pour autant accroître encore notablement les dépenses.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/240277235354
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 633.

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    Date of creation: 28 Aug 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:633-en

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    Keywords: funding; England; targets; education; United Kingdom; equality; financement; Royaume-Uni; éducation; Angleterre; égalité; cibles;

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